Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STEAM, n., v. Also stame, staem, stem (Sc. 1743 R. Maxwell Select Trans. 289). Sc. forms and usages. [stim; ne., em.Sc. (a) stem. See P.L.D. §§ 88, 120, 130.]

I. n. As in Eng. Combs. and derivs.: 1. steam-boat, a long flat farm cart without sides. and with high wheels, used gen. for carrying sheaves, from its similarity to a paddle-steamer (Fif. 1971); 2. steamie, a local name for a public wash-house (m., s.Sc. 1971); 3. steam-mill, st(a)em-mull, a threshing-mill driven by a steam engine, usu. one travelling from farm to farm as required. Gen.Sc., now obsol. Also attrib. and in reduced deriv. form stemmer. 2. Gsw. 1935 Sc. Educ. Jnl. (8 March) Suppl. vi.:
Modern sanitation has caused the coining of “steamie”.
Gsw. 1958 Stat. Acc.3 560:
Attendances at the “steamies” in the year were just short of 1,800,000.
Dmf. 1969 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (29 Oct.) 1:
There was still a need for the “steamie” as launderettes were not as cheap as the council maintained.
Edb. 1971 Edb. Post (18 Feb.) 1:
The city's “steamies” which the city first introduced in 1908.
3. Cai. 1871 M. McLennan Peasant Life 33:
The steam-mill at the Lowes was going and all hands were busy thrashing out the grain.
Bnff. 1871 Banffshire Jnl. (26 Dec.) 17:
I've never engaged ony o' that stemmers.
Abd. 1887 Bon-Accord (26 March) 17:
The “stem-mull” man of Longside.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 35:
The stame mull cam' an' thresh them oot.
ne.Sc. 1956 Mearns Leader (26 Nov.):
A speenfu' o' the finest stame-mull-day shoop tatties.

II. v. In phr. steamin' wi drink, very drunk (Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 406; Ork., n. and m.Sc. 1971).

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"Steam n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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